Could 3rd DFA bring pitcher back to Reds after Twins latest roster move?

Former Reds pitcher Daniel Duarte must feel like a ping pong ball this winter.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Daniel Duarte
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Daniel Duarte / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

If no one else wants Daniel Duarte, the Cincinnati Reds should gladly take him back. For the third time in less than a month, Duarte was designated for assignment. After adding Carlos Santana, Jay Jackson, and Zach Weiss on Wednesday, the Twins made a series corresponding moves in order to sort out their 40-man roster.

Among the cuts was Duarte. The Twins also DFA'd Bubba Thompson, who was also let go for the third time this offseason. While the Reds roster has enough outfielders, you can never have enough pitching. If Duarte passes through waivers this time, Cincinnati should re-sign the right-hander to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.

Though Cincinnati has done a fine job of adding more major league depth to the relief corps with the likes of Brent Suter, Nick Martinez, and Emilio Pagán, any additional reinforcements would be welcome.

Could 3rd DFA bring Daniel Duarte back to Reds after Twins latest roster move?

Duarte was originally called up to the Reds 40-man roster during the 2021-22 offseason in order to protect him from the 2021 Rule 5 Draft. He made a brief appearance in The Show in April of 2022, but an injury put him on the shelf for the rest of his rookie season.

Duarte was let go the following winter, but re-signed to a minor-league deal. After tirelessly working his way back, Duarte's contract was selected last summer, and he made 31 appearances out of the Cincinnati bullpen.

Duarte owned a 3.69 ERA with 23 punch outs over 31.2 innings of work. Duarte was traded to the Texas Rangers after Suter was signed earlier this winter. He then landed in Minnesota after the Rangers roster crunch forced Texas to make a corresponding move.

There are some troubling stats associated with Duarte. While his ERA was rather impressive for a first-year reliever, a 5.84 FIP suggests Duarte was more lucky than good. With 6.54 strikeouts per nine innings, it's not as if he was blowing heat by opposing batters either. Couple that with a 14.7% walk-rate, and you can understand why other clubs have been so quick to dismiss Duarte over the past month.

But one thing Duarte does well is keep the ball on the ground; something that's always appreciated while pitching in Great American Ball Park. Last season, Duarte owned a 50% ground ball-rate in the big leagues, and even saw it tick up to 51.8% while pitching at Triple-A Louisville.

The Cincinnati Reds risk absolutely nothing by bringing Daniel Duarte back into the fold and handing him an opportunity to win a spot in the bullpen. Justin Bruihl, Tony Santillan, and Jacob Heatherly will looking to sneak into the Reds bullpen on Opening Day as well.